DETROIT — Offensive production from defensemen is the biggest difference between the St. Louis Blues and the Detroit Red Wings.
The two teams play at Little Caesars Arena on Saturday at 1 p.m.
St. Louis (19-8-2) leads the league with 22 goals by defensemen, while Detroit (11-12-5) is 30th with only five goals from its rear guards.
Alex Pietrangelo leads the Blues’ defensemen in scoring and is fourth on the team overall with seven goals and 21 points in 29 games, while Colton Parayko is next among the team’s defensemen with three goals and 16 points in 29 games. Joel Edmundson is second in goals among Blues rear guards with six.
Parayko had a goal in St. Louis’ 3-0 home win over the Dallas Stars on Thursday night. Jake Allen made 29 saves in recording the shutout.
The Blues placed backup goalie Carter Hutton on injured reserve with a lower-body injury on Friday. So Ville Husso, who was recalled from AHL San Antonio on Thursday, is set to back up Allen on Saturday.
Hutton took a shot off the foot from left winger Scottie Upshall during Thursday’s morning skate and he couldn’t dress that night. Former Saint Louis University club hockey goalie Tyler Stewart was the team’s emergency goalie until Husso arrived late in the first period from San Antonio.
The Blues play Sunday night back in St. Louis against Buffalo.
When asked the chances of Husso getting a start, St. Louis coach Mike Yeo told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch: “I don’t know. We’ll gauge it from there (the game in Detroit). But the one thing we do have going for us — I think the afternoon game to the later in the evening game the next day is a little bit of help if we wanted to go to Jake for all the games. So we’ll see what happens.”
The Blues practiced Friday at the IceZone in Hazelwood, Mo., before leaving for Detroit.
Mike Green, the Red Wings’ best offensive defenseman, leads in scoring among the team’s D with two goals and 16 points. He is tied with Niklas Kronwall for the lead in goals among Detroit’s d-men, and Jonathan Ericsson has the Red Wings’ other goal from a defenseman.
“It’s important to us, probably like every team, that our D are active in the rush — it’s something we work on every day in practice,” Detroit coach Jeff Blashill said on mlive.com. “You have to have four, really five, now in the attack to have a good chance to score. I think we can do a better job on those line rushes potentially delaying and hitting some of the late guys, being the D.”
Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser talked about how the defense could improve its production.
“I think we’re trying to get more opportunities in the offensive zone where we’re getting the puck up top and not always going D to D,” DeKeyser said. “We’re looking for a better shot, sometimes just getting it and firing it to the net, getting forwards driving to the net for traffic or rebounds.”
The Red Wings are coming off a 5-1 home win over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night, which snapped a seven-game losing streak (0-4-3).
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